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The increasing demand for alternatives to fossil fuels lead scientists to search for new materials to be used as energy vectors. Nowadays, it is generally accepted that hydrogen is the best solution to this issue. One of the reasons why hydrogen is not yet commonly employed in everyday life lies in the lack of a safe, practical and effective method for its storage. A possible solution that meets the above requirements is given by intermetallic hydrides, which can be charged with hydrogen at high-pressure to form stable hydrides, then releasing hydrogen by heating the host intermetallic. In this context, TiCr-based alloys couple convenient fundamental physical properties, such as small hysteresis, practical operating conditions and relatively high reversible capacity, to a key factor for a larger scale production: they consist of not-expansive elements.

Our research is focused on two main aspects: the effect of elemental substitution and the processing of alloys in a different form than that a powder. The addition of ternary elements, such as Zr and Mn, allows to tune the absorption/desorption properties of the material by directly acting on the size of the interstitial sites available for hosting hydrogen, as well as on the microstructure. Hydrates are generally employed in the form of a powder, so as to increase absorption kinetic compared to bulk materials, though reducing the gravimetric density. Moreover, the use of powders raise some safety concerns. For these reasons, we investigate new technologies for the processing of alloys based on the laser technology (Self-propagating High-temperature Synthesis, Selective Laser Melting) aimed at producing bulk materials with controlled porosity and/or morphology.

    material processing laves phases hydrogen storage

    • F. Agresti, S. Lo Russo, A. Maddalena, G. Principi, G. Mazzolai, B. Coluzzi, A. Biscarini, F.M. Mazzolai, A. Tuissi
      Reaction of hydrogen with the Laves phase (C14) TiCr1.78-xMnx compounds
      Materials Science and Engineering A 521–522 (2009) 143–146
    • V. Spampinato, M. Pedroni, F. Inzoli, E. Vassallo, P. Bassani, M. Coduri, C.A. Biffi, A. Tuissi
      Microstructural characterization of Ti-Cr and Ti-Cr-Mn coatings deposited using plasma sputtering on Si substrates
      AIV- Italian Association of Science and Technology XXII Conference

    • Accordo Quadro di collaborazione tra Regione Lombardia e il Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR). Delibera GR n. 3728 del 11/07/2012 nel progetto TIMES "Tecnologie e materiali per l’utilizzo efficiente dell’energia solare".

    • Università degli Studi di Milano, Prof. I. Rossetti e CNR-ITAE, Dr. R. Pedicini